Áslaug is a woman of many worlds, something her house reflects in countless ways. When we arrive at her home she greets us wearing her pyjamas even though the clock says it is time to maybe already change into more formal clothing. But nothing about Áslaug is formal or even normal for that matter. She tells us with a strong precise voice that we do not need to take our shoes off before we enter her home unless we want to and you get the feeling that in this house the owners are used to having guests over.
As it turns out when we enter her huge living room, the first thing you see is an exceptionally long dining table. So this is a party house after all, but also so much more than that. Áslaug is one of the most avant garde cooks in Iceland so no wonder she needs space to entertain, but apart from that you feel almost like Alice in Wonderland entering a magical space. The house where she lives was built by her grandfather and has ever since been a family house, where all three generations have lived; grandparents, parents and Áslaug herself. This is the house where she also raised her two children and now her young granddaughter is a regular visitor. What a treat it must be for her to have a grandmother who owns this kind of home.
The living room is filled with light and a great view over the city, the windows are open and the fresh summer air brings even more joy to the already joy packed room. Everything in this house suggests that if you have never had a good time in your life, Áslaug’s home would be an excellent place to start. It runs in her blood, the festive creative vein, and making people feel welcome is part of the history of the house. Her own grandmother started the trend many, many years ago, when she opened up her own bed & breakfast here. Áslaug’s grandfather on the other hand was always on the move taking his Land Rover jeep around the island and sometimes taking along his wife’s guests. So this is a family of sharing and enjoying life and that is what Áslaug transmits with everything she does.
She is a great lover of nature and feels completely in her element out and about in Iceland. Cooking outdoors all year round is her thing, and a picnic is never a bad idea to her, no matter the temperature or time of year. But she is also a world traveller and loves big cities and foreign cultures. A confessed enthusiast of folk art and religious ornaments, she has a vast collection of things she has gathered during her travels all over the world, from Thailand and India to Bali and Cape Verde islands, which she has just recently visited. She talks about the shop in Paris she did not manage to visit for it was closed when she discovered it, filled with religious objects and decorations, to which she must return some day or even better, open up her own store.
Colour is something we see everywhere in her house. All is colour, her books the artwork, even a small slice of her granddaughter´s confirmation cake is layered with colour and kept as a decoration in the living room. We also see photographs in black and white that brings us to the fact that Áslaug has been working as a photographer for many years. Greetings from Mary Ellen Mark in different forms can be seen around the house along with her own photographs. She has already contributed in around 15 books with the latest, a book about the superfoods we can find in Iceland, just recently out. Her next book she says is about flowers and different forms of happiness. And happy is what we feel when we leave her, having tasted all kinds of juices and eaten fermented food. Ahead are new times for Áslaug. She plans to rearrange her life. She wants to travel even more and talks about Italy and Columbia as places she would like stay for longer periods of time.
She says she needs more Yin in her life and that the Yang has been too present for too long, pointing out all the colourful things she has around her. She is planning on packing up her belongings and moving to a smaller home, perhaps a lot smaller but it must come with a great view and cotton like atmosphere, soft and monochrome in natural colours. The nomad in her is on its way to adventures new, but we are sure we will not lose sight of her as we know she will probably always come back, with her head full of ideas that will inspire us in many ways. We will arrange a nice dinner when she returns and enjoy her latest stories, an excellent recipe for a fun and interesting night.
Text: Auður Gná // Photography: Íris Ann